Faulting Asphalt: Why Are We Replacing Longer-Wearing, Less Expensive Concrete?

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Layers of repaving “fills” curbing and leads to flooding. Right shows how it's supposed to look
Layers of repaving “fills” curbing and leads to flooding. Right shows how it’s supposed to look

At the last Preston Center Task Force Meeting, TXDoT spoke about their progress repaving of Preston Road and my ears were pricked.  Preston Road was originally constructed with concrete and is now (again) being over-paved in Asphalt.  It’s been going on for years, but why? Other roads like Greenville are being repaired in concrete.

The federal government reports that concrete roadways last an average of 2.5 times longer than asphalt.  Another report states that concrete lasts 27.5 years before major repair while asphalt only lasts 15.5 years.  Non-highway roadways can have a life expectancy of over 60 years (how old is Preston Road’s concrete?).  Long-term, concrete roadways can save 19 percent in maintenance costs over asphalt.

Proper sewer clearance; original concrete roadway
Proper sewer clearance; original concrete roadway


Several over-pavements have cut clearance in half
Several over-pavements have cut clearance in half for this Northwest Highway drain

Astonishingly, concrete roadways claim to boost heavy truck mileage by 20 percent. Concrete also doesn’t rut or pothole in the same way and because it retains its flat surface that reduces pooling, is less slippery in wet weather.  This reduces the amount of downtime spent rerouting traffic around repair crews and traffic accidents. Over time, softer asphalt also creates rippling in the pavement that makes lane changes … bouncy … and potentially more dangerous.

Black asphalt is a petroleum-based material that absorbs heat, adding to the creation of heat islands. Also because asphalt is made from petroleum, vehicle oil leaks damage roads where concrete is largely unaffected.

So in every measurement except initial installation costs, concrete is the cheaper, better weathering option.

Recessed Valve SM
Which is better? A “pothole” or…

Aesthetically, over-paving misaligns other roadway components.  As in the first picture, curbs and gutters no longer line up with the road.  Manhole covers and other surface access covers are often recessed or paved over only to quickly fall apart.

... an over pave?
… a pave over?

In decades past, government made better decisions based on overall long-term costs.  When did the quick-fix just become the fix?  Why is that?

Remember:  Do you have an HOA story to tell?  A little high-rise history? Realtors, want to feature a listing in need of renovation or one that’s complete with flying colors?  How about hosting a Candy’s Dirt Staff Meeting?  Shoot Jon an email.  Marriage proposals accepted (they’re legal)!  sharewithjon@candysdirt.com


Jon Anderson

Jon Anderson is CandysDirt.com's condo/HOA and developer columnist, but also covers second home trends on SecondShelters.com. An award-winning columnist, Jon has earned silver and bronze awards for his columns from the National Association of Real Estate Editors in both 2016, 2017 and 2018. When he isn't in Hawaii, Jon enjoys life in the sky in Dallas.

Reader Interactions


  1. CRITIC says

    I guess Dallasites get asphalt streets because the money for concrete streets was spent on a Convention Center hotel instead ?????

  2. Cynthia Heed says

    Our street repair maintenance needs a huge overhaul of management. Abrams Rd. was just repaved about 2 years ago, now the bad spots are back, just as if there was no improvement done. Same with South Haskell, all the big holes are back.
    The streets last no more than two years, and then they are a mess again,
    There was a huge pile of asphalt that was left on Ravendale for about 6 months, I called to have it removed, while just feet away on Rockaway, the potholes are numerous.
    There does not seem to be any planning, thinking, or whatever at the street department.

  3. John s says

    Happy that they are doing this honestly. The concrete roads here are terrible to drive on, they also put alot more wear and tear on your cars, people. Asphalt takes so much less time to repair than concrete and not to mention nothing beats the ride quality on asphalt.

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